In this file:


·         Silicon Valley startups are experimenting with gene-editing tool Crispr to help grow chicken, beef, and pork in labs — and to upend a $200 billion industry 

·         Meat, Beef or "Fake Meat"

·         What should we call lab-grown meat? Our decision could help or hinder food innovation

·         US regulators outline oversight on meat grown in lab dishes

·         A culture of cultured meat: Better than animal agriculture




Silicon Valley startups are experimenting with gene-editing tool Crispr to help grow chicken, beef, and pork in labs — and to upend a $200 billion industry


o   Silicon Valley startups are experimenting with the gene-editing technology Crispr to make lab-grown chicken, pork, and beef.

o   Lab-grown meat, also called cultured or clean meat, is real meat brewed up using animal cells. So far, only prototypes exist.

o   The idea is to move away from environmentally-damaging meat production methods in favor of a method that could be more sustainable and less ethically fraught.

o   Venture capitalists see huge promise in the industry's potential to disrupt the $200 billion global meat industry.


Erin Brodwin, Business Insider

Mar 8, 2019


Two emerging technologies with blockbuster biotech potential are the gene-editing tool Crispr and lab-grown or cultured meat.


Crispr has been likened to a pair of genetic scissors: it allows researchers to simply and precisely tweak the DNA of any organism, opening up the potential to cure tricky genetic diseases like sickle cell or even make climate-change-resistant crops.


Lab-grown meat, on the other hand, would free up meat producers from being dependent on farms by allowing for real chicken and beef to be made in a lab from animal cells instead of from slaughter.


What if scientists combined them?


New Age Meats, a startup that recently hosted a public tasting of its prototype sausage, is actively using the technique, while Memphis Meats, a Silicon Valley startup whose funders include celebrities like Richard Branson as well as food giants like Tyson, is studying the idea.


"Technologies like Crispr allow us to safely increase the quality of our cell growth, which means we will make meat that is tastier, healthier, and more sustainable than slaughtered meat," Brian Spears, the co-founder and CEO of New Age Meats, told Business Insider.


Memphis Meats declined a Business Insider request for an interview. But in pair of patents — the most recent of which was first published at the end of January — Memphis Meats described a method to create real chicken and beef tissue using Crispr.


In an emailed statement, a company spokesperson said, "As a company focused on research and development, we are exploring a number of innovative techniques that will allow us to make our products better for the environment and public health, as well as more affordable and scale-able."


The spokesperson added that it's too early to say whether products made using the gene-editing tool would make it into its first consumer products, which the company previously estimated would hit stores by 2021 and be available in a high-end restaurant this year.


Lab-made meat has the potential to upend a $200 billion industry, but faces some challenges ...


How Crispr could help lab-made meat become a reality


more, including links



Meat, Beef or "Fake Meat"

Plant-Based, Cell-Cultured Challenges to Meat Market Share Continue to Grow


By Victoria G Myers, Progressive Farmer/DTN



BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (DTN) -- Forget the crumbles and the pre-made patties. Beyond Meat just introduced a 1-pound package of something that looks a lot like a pound of ground beef. The label boldly proclaims it to be "Beyond Beef" and features a cow/plant icon on the packaging.


Beyond Beef is a blend of pea, mung bean and rice proteins. It uses beets to create a red color, and coconut oil and potato starch to add the right "mouth feel." The company says the product will hit retail shelves in the coming weeks.


Beyond Meat's use of the word "beef" in its labeling is not new. In fact, court battles are continuing in Missouri and other states over the issue of labeling plant-based and cell-cultured protein as "meat" or "beef." The beef industry is also pushing back -- especially with regard to labeling.


Anticipating that the next step in the alternative-proteins sector will be large-scale commercial production of lab-grown "meat" products, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) has been taking steps to address regulatory efforts in that realm. NCBA launched a "Fake Meat Facts" campaign last month.




On Thursday, USDA and the Food and Drug Administration outlined how the two agencies will move forward regulating cell-cultured meats.


The FDA will oversee cell collection, cell banks and cell growth and differentiation. Oversight will transition to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) during cell harvest. FSIS will oversee production and labeling of human food products derived from these cells of livestock and poultry.


NCBA senior director of government affairs, Danielle Beck, stressed, "It is critical that manufacturers make samples of their cell-cultured products available for independent, objective analysis. Until then, stakeholders will be forced to base their assessments on the unverified claims of manufacturing companies and fake meat activists."


Questions the NCBA has raised revolve primarily around pre-market safety evaluations of the cellular products. Will antibiotics be used in the production process? How will companies transition to commercial-scale production while maintaining safety? Most importantly, will the finished products ultimately be safe for human consumption?


Kenny Graner, president of the United States Cattlemen's Association (USCA), said his group was encouraged by USDA and FDA formalizing their regulatory framework. But USCA continues to challenge allowing the term "meat" or specifically "beef" for any lab-based products. USCA also doesn't think USDA meat inspection stamps should go on any cell-based products.


"Neither the federal or state meat inspection stamps should appear on the cell-cultured protein products, retail packaging or wholesale containers," Graner said. "We look forward to continued dialogue with USDA, FDA, livestock stakeholders, and cell-cultured foods manufacturers to implement a regulatory framework that ensures consumer safety and avoids intentional consumer confusion."


While livestock groups watch cell-based proteins with a skeptical eye, the North American Meat Institute praised the new regulatory framework because several of NAMI's member companies have invested heavily in the new technologies.


"The framework announced today will ensure cell-based meat and poultry products are wholesome, safe for consumption, and properly labeled," said Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts. "We support a fair and competitive marketplace that lets consumers decide what food products make sense for them and their families, and this agreement will help achieve these goals by establishing the level playing field necessary to ensure consumer confidence."







What should we call lab-grown meat? Our decision could help or hinder food innovation


Garland West | Genetic Literacy Project

March 7, 2019


The Dirt:


We need protein as part of a healthy diet— and many of us turn to meat as a source. Satisfying the projected growth in worldwide protein demand is a complicated task and doesn’t lack for controversy. Cell-based meat, an innovative protein, is being accepted as a viable component of a healthy, robust protein source. But what should we call it?


The world needs more protein.


Population growth and rising standards of living will increase the demand for animal meat and vegetable proteins in the decades ahead. Experts say we will need 50% more protein by the year 2050 to provide adequate protein for everyone.


What are the alternatives to animal production?


Many argue for a greater consumption of vegetable proteins. Indeed, plant-based protein products, such as Beyond Meat are now a significant factor in the marketplace. But entrepreneurial scientists have recently generated another alternative: cell-based meat, where cells from an animal are cultured and grown in a lab.


Dirt-to-Dinner examined “meatless meat” in A New Burger. Since that report, the science and industry behind this new source of protein continue to develop. Companies such as Memphis Meats, Mosa Meats, and Modern Meadow also report positive feedback of cell-based meat as a legitimate player in the protein sector.


    At Memphis Meats, we have a “big tent” philosophy, and collaboratively work with consumers, regulators, mission-oriented groups and major meat companies to help feed a growing planet in a sustainable way. This is a goal that everybody shares.


– Uma Valeti, CEO Memphis Meats


Trending today is a positive reaction from consumers on texture, taste and other matters important to consumer acceptance of the product. Production advances are slowly working on bringing the price point and availability for the product into a range acceptable to consumers.


But one key element of the developmental process remains unresolved – and is a source of high emotion, intense debate and competition…


It’s what to call this innovative meat!


“Cell-based meat” is a leader within the industry. Cell-based is a neutral, scientifically accurate term that is commonly used by proponents, detractors and neutral observers alike. It references the composition of the products in this category. It parallels and creates clear distinction from “plant-based protein” and “animal-based meat.”


“Cultured meat” has been discussed in the nomenclature debate. After all, the meat is produced from a cultured sample of the cow, chicken, pig, fish or other target animal. But “cultured” is used in fermented foods such as yogurt and even cured meat, so could lend itself to consumer confusion.


“Laboratory meat” or “lab meat” may conjure up images from a sci-fi movie. Consumers like foods that invoke happy images of a well-fed and satisfied family, not a science lab. Another contender, “clean meat,” calls attention to the lab’s sanitary conditions, but is yet another unsavory mental image for the shopper.


The term “clean” also draws objections from those who fear it suggests other types of meat aren’t clean and are therefore somehow suspect. Consumer advocacy groups worry if the product is called “clean meat,” consumers may assume it is safe and won’t take adequate precautions in preparing it for consumption.


With the innocence and cyber-world orientation that comes with youth, a 12-year-old listened patiently to the debate and responded with a different approach to the type of name that seems right. “You’re talking about a new kind of protein, really. You know, Protein 2.0.”


The roster of possible names goes on and on, as do the objections and concerns. Some animal producers even question whether the product should be called “meat” at all. Take our poll and let us know what you think!


Why is this naming debate so important? ...


The bottom line ... 





US regulators outline oversight on meat grown in lab dishes


By Associated Press

via KTAR News - March 7, 2019


NEW YORK (AP) — Burgers made by growing cow cells in a lab dish have a clearer path to reaching supermarkets as U.S. regulators on Thursday outlined how the emerging food category will be monitored.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture said meat from cultured animal cells will have to undergo agency inspection, as with other meat and poultry products. Carmen Rottenberg of the USDA said she expects inspections to be similar to those for other meat-processing plants, but noted that a lot remains unknown since companies haven’t yet scaled up to commercial production.


Rottenberg also says the agency expects a new label will be required for cell-cultured meat, meaning it likely won’t be able to simply use terms like “ground beef” or “hamburger.”


Startups developing cell-cultured meat say their products would be more humane and environmentally friendly, since they don’t require raising and slaughtering animals. It wasn’t known how cultured meat would be regulated until November, when the USDA and Food and Drug Administration said they would share oversight.


The agreement on joint oversight, formalized Thursday, says...





A culture of cultured meat: Better than animal agriculture


Matti Wilks, GreenBiz

March 8, 2019


The world is in the grips of a food-tech revolution. One of the most compelling new developments is cultured meat, also known as clean, cell-based or slaughter-free meat. It’s grown from stem cells taken from a live animal without the need for slaughter.


Proponents hail cultured meat as the long-awaited solution to the factory farming problem. If commercialized successfully, it could solve many environmental, animal welfare and public health issues of animal agriculture while giving consumers exactly what they’re used to eating.


Despite this, the public is uncertain about cultured meat. Scientists and high-profile supporters, including investors such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson, are pushing for broader adoption, but it’s difficult to sell the public on new food technology — case in point, genetically modified food.


As a moral psychologist, my research explores people’s perceptions of cultured meat, both the good and the bad. Below I discuss some top reasons people say they don’t want to eat cultured meat, compiled from opinion surveys, focus groups and online comments. But I’m optimistic that champions of this new technology can alleviate the public’s concerns, making a convincing case for consumers to embrace cultured meat.


‘Cultured meat is not necessary’


While there is increasing awareness of the downsides of factory farming, this knowledge still has not spread to all meat consumers, or at least is not reflected in their purchasing behavior. Factory farming supports what many consider cruel and restrictive practices where animals raised in such farms are subjected to extreme suffering, and estimates suggest that over 99 percent of U.S. farmed animals live on factory farms.


Animal agriculture is also inefficient. Growing and feeding an entire animal for only part of its body is inevitably less efficient than growing just the parts that you want to eat.


Factory farming degrades the environment and contaminates local land and water, in addition to emitting around 14.5 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.


The use of antibiotics in farming leads to antibiotic resistance, which could have devastating consequences for human health globally. In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that over 70 percent of medically important drugs were sold for use in animal agriculture (PDF).


Some people who believe farmed meat is problematic would prefer a plant-based food system. Despite recent hype around veganism, the number of people who don’t eat animal products remains extremely low. Only 2 to 6 percent of Americans identify as vegetarian or vegan. And only around 1 percent of adults identify as vegetarian and report never eating meat. This figure shows little change since the mid-1990s, despite the ongoing activism of the animal rights and environmental movements.


I’d argue that the plant-based solution to factory farming is not a feasible outcome for the foreseeable future. Cultured meat might be. Individuals can still choose to eat a plant-based diet. But for those who are unwilling to give up meat, they can have their steak and eat it too.


‘I’m worried about the animals and farmers’ ...


‘Cultured meat is disgusting’ ... 


‘Cultured meat is unnatural’ ...


more, including links